Partial Mash Rauchbier

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Surtr (from Old Norse mythology) and his flaming sword. (Picture in the public domain.)

Partial mashing is a great method for making beer. The biggest benefit is that you can add the aroma of base malts to your beer. (See my article, “Why Partial Mash?” for all the benefits of partial mashing.)

One beer style that you can’t make with the usual malt-extract-and-steeping-grains method is rauchbier, or smoked beer. (The word “rauch” means smoke in German.) Although some smoked malt extract is made, it is usually hard to find. Smoked malt — also called rauchmalz — on the other hand, is not hard to find. Partial mashing is a great way for a stovetop extract brewer to brew a smoked beer, and get the wonderful flavor and aroma from smoked malt in his or her beer.

Rauchmalz is a base malt and so it must be mashed, not simpley steeped. In this recipe — that is adapted from my all-grain rauchbier recipe — the smoke flavor is fairly mellow.  In my all-grain recipe, I use nearly 100% rauchmalz, and it is intensely smoky — more smoky than most people like it.

You can also ferment this beer with ale yeast to make a smoked altbier (although no such beer exists commercially). And, to change the smoke character, you can also smoke your own malt with the hardwood of your choice.

The lager version requires a fairly large yeast starter. One option is make the starter in your fermenter. Once the starter is done fermenting, pour the starter beer out and rack the fresh wort onto the yeast.

As you might expect, this beer goes great with barbecue.

 

Surtur’s Sword

Rauchbier (or smoked alt)

by Chris Colby

Countertop partial mash; English units

 

DESCRIPTION

A smoky lager that goes great with barbecue.

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Sweet Potato ESB (3-gallon/11-L All-Grain Recipe)

NCI5_POTATOLast week, I posted an article on brewing with tubers. I used my sweet potato ESB recipe as an example. Here is that recipe formulated to be brewed with a simple 3-gallon (11-L) all-grain brewing setup. With this 3.0-gallon (11-L) all-grain brewing setup, you can brew all-grain beers in your kitchen and have everything fit on your countertop. There are also some fringe benefits to brewing at this scale — you don’t need to make a yeast starter for this beer, the wet T-shirt method works well for cooling fermenters at this scale, and your heating and cooling times can be very quick. (See our post on small batch brewing for more.) This is a great way for apartment dwellers to brew all-grain batches. The only downside is that you yield 3.0 gallons (11 L) of beer rather than 5.0 gallons (19 L).

There is also a 5.0-gallon all-grain version of this recipe. For other 3.0-gallon all-grain recipes, see the links at the bottom of this post.

 

Sweet Potato ESB

by Chris Colby

All-grain with starchy adjunct, English units

 

DESCRIPTION

This is an ESB (Extra Special Bitter) with an interesting orange color due to using sweet potatoes as an adjunct. The sweet potatoes do not add any flavor or aroma, just the color (and some fermentable sugars when they are mashed).

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Easy Peasy Pilsner

100% German Pilsner malt is all you need in the mash tun.

100% German Pilsner malt is all you need in the mash tun.

This is a detailed description of the recipe I posted in my story on Easy Lager Chilling in January. Simple to brew, but very tasty.

Lager brewing can be intimidating for the brewer who has only brewed ales – at least that’s the way it was with me. Ales are fairly forgiving; ale fermentation temperatures are easier to maintain than their colder lager cousins, and there is a fear that the lager yeast either won’t get started or won’t get finished when it’s pitched. [Read more…]

Rube’s Ramped Roggenbier (Surefire Extract Recipe)

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A diagram of the temperature ramp the steeped grains (really a small mash) undergo. This should make for a more clove-y beer.

Here’s another surefire extract recipe — a roggenbier. Roggenbiers are like dunkelweizens, but made with rye instead of wheat. The distinctive “pumpernickel” flavor of rye blended with the banana and clove aroma of a hefeweizen make this a flavorful and interesting beer. The “spicy” notes of Tettnang hops round out the aroma.

This recipe adds one twist on the usual extract brewing method — a temperature ramp from 109 °f (43 °C) through 150 °F (66 °C) for the steeped grains. (Really, it’s a small mash, so follow the temperatures and liquid amounts as closely as possible.) The initial low temperature helps accentuate the clove character in the beer. For a explanation of this, see our series on brewing hefeweizens. (This step can be omitted, if you’d like to simplify the brewing; you’ll just end up with a more banana-focused roggenbier.)

The brew-in-a-bag-like (BIAB-like) grain steeping allows you to use a lot of rye malt, but not have to worry about lautering, as an all-grain brewer would. (See James’ 100% Rye  Pale Ale for more on the difficulties of brewing all-grain beer with high percentages of rye. While you’re at it, see Denny Conn’s take on brewing with rye and his Rye IPA recipe.)

You’ll either need to make a small (1-qt./1-L) yeast starter, or add some neutral dried ale yeast to boost your pitching rate, to best brew this beer. Hopefully these two little twists don’t make brewing this beer Rube Goldbergian, because this beer is flavorful and fun to brew.

 

Rube’s Ramped Roggenbier

Roggenbier

Malt extract: English units

 

DESCRIPTION

A copper/amber ale with the “snap” of rye and banana/clove aroma of a hefeweizen.

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3-gallon (11-L) All-Grain Golden Ale

368px-Ah,_what_a_lovely_maid_it_is!_by_Elmer_Boyd_SmithBrewing smaller batch sizes is something that many homebrewers are exploring, whether for considerations of space or to brew a greater variety beers. This is another recipe that can be brewed with a simple 3-gallon (11-L) all-grain brewing setup. With this 3.0-gallon (11-L) all-grain brewing setup, you can brew all-grain beers in your kitchen and have everything fit on your countertop. There are also somes fringe benefits to brewing at this scale — you don’t need to make a yeast starter when using liquid yeast at specific gravities around 13 ° Plato (roughly 1.052) or less, the wet T-shirt method works well for cooling fermenters at this scale, and your heating and cooling times can be very quick. (See our post on small batch brewing for more.) This is a great way for apartment dwellers to brew all-grain batches. The only downside is that you yield 3.0 gallons (11 L) of beer rather than 5.0 gallons (19 L).

There are also 5-gallon all-grain and extract versions of this recipe. For other 3-gallon all-grain recipes, see the links at the bottom of this post.

 

“Freyja’s” Eyes

Golden ale

by Chris Colby

All-grain; English units

 

DESCRIPTION

A crisp golden ale with a grainy and bready pale malt flavor. Hop bitterness and flavor are quite high for this type of beer, but not to the point of masking the malt character. The relatively high pitching rate and low fermentation temperatures yield a fairly clean fermentation, even though a Belgian yeast strain is used.

[Read more…]

Supercell Stout (Surefire Extract Recipe)

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OK, I didn’t have an American stout handy, so I used an old Irish dry stout picture instead. Interestingly, the foam on an American stout will be much darker as American stouts get their roast character from black malt. This colors the foam, unlike the roasted (unmalted) barley that is the dark grain in an Irish dry stout.

This is the third beer in the second series of Surefire Extract Beers. The first series presented five homebrew recipes that played to the strengths of malt extract and stovetop brewing methods. The second series continues this idea, and started with an English best bitter.

This beer is somewhat stronger than the other beers in this series, relying on the higher number of cells in a packet of dried yeast. It is an intensely roasty, aggressively hoppy stout, in some ways reminiscent of Sierra Nevada’s Stout and other similar American style stouts. I paired two distinctive American bittering hops — Chinook and Columbus — with Cascade for flavor and aroma.

With summer on its way, I named the stout after the large weather systems that tear through the American Midwest every year. As a kid, I used to love watching the lightning from a big thunderstorm. As an adult, I still love it . . . the only thing that’s changed is that now I have a beer in my hand while I watch.

 

Supercell Stout

American Stout

by Chris Colby

Extract; English units

 

DESCRIPTION

A dark, roasty, and fairly strong American-style stout, with lots of hops.

[Read more…]

Twisted Spire Alt (Surefire Extract Recipe)

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A copper-colored, moderate-bodied, bitter, malty ale.

This is the second beer in the second series of Surefire Extract Beers. The first series presented five homebrew recipes that played to the strengths of malt extract and stovetop brewing methods. The second series continues this idea, and started with an English best bitter.

Altbiers are brown ales (and sometimes lagers), often with a fair amount of bitterness. Outside of Düsseldorf, Germany, most have a hint of sweetness and a moderate level of bitterness. Düsseldorf altbiers tend to be a bit drier and more bitter. Twisted Spire Alt is an altbier made in the Düsseldorf style — plenty of hop bitterness, backed up by Munich malt. (This recipe uses both light and dark Munich malt, and a tiny amount of aromatic or melanoidin malt.)

The key to brewing this beer well is to ferment on the cool side of the ale fermentation range (65 °F/18 °C), and cold-condition the beer for a few weeks before serving. If you want your alt to be as traditional as possible, use Spalt hops instead of the Tettnanger hops specified in the recipe. (However, if you’ve never tasted Spalt hops before, be aware that they have a unique flavor that’s not to everyone’s liking.) Likewise, if you want to stick closer to tradition, cut the amounts of late hops and dry hops in half and lower the carbonation a bit.

The name Twisted Spire refers to the spire on the St. Lambertus church in Düsseldorf, which is twisted. Legend has it that, around the time the spire was finished, a virgin was married in the church. As she was leaving the wedding ceremony, the spire turned around to get a better view of her, since that sort of thing didn’t happen often. When another virgin gets married there, the spire will untwist itself. Locals have been waiting for this to happen since 1384. (Interestingly, many of the twisted spires in Europe have similar legends attached to them.) In the case of St. Lambertus, the truth is a bit more prosaic — architects think the carpenters used untreated wood to build the spire and it twisted when the wood absorbed moisture.)

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Bletchley’s Best Bitter (Surefire Extract Recipe)

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It’s not an enigma. It’s a simple, delicious ale.

A few months ago, I ran a series of five beer recipes and titled them “Surefire Extract Recipes.” The name pretty much explains the idea — malt-extract-based recipes with a high probability of success. I’ve decided to go with three more and here’s the first of them, Bletchley’s Best Bitter. Situated between ordinary bitters and extra special bitters in the ranks of English pale ales, best bitters are balanced ales that walk the line between “weak” session beers and stronger English ales. Bletchley’s Best Bitter features British pale ale malt with a healthy dose of crystal malt. A firm hop bitterness and flavor of and aroma of Kent Goldings hops mingle with the estery fermentation character of the yeast. The crystal malt and yeast strain yield a full-bodied beer, without being cloyingly sweet. Brew this with quality malt and hops and you will love the flavor.

 

Bletchley’s Best Bitter

by Chris Colby

Extract; English units

 

DESCRIPTION

A pale ale with an overall balance between the malt with a caramel touch, aromatic hops, full body and moderate carbonation.

[Read more…]

Copper Ale (3-Gallon All-Grain Recipe)

IMG_2105This is a 3-gallon (11-L) all-grain recipe for my copper ale. This beer was formulated without reference to an existing beer style, and was meant to simply be an “everyday” beer. (If you need to attach a style too it, I guess you can call it an alt.) The beer is malty, I balanced with a solid hop bitterness.

I have previously posted the 5-gallon (19 L) version of this recipe. Other 3-gallon (11-L) all-grain recipes I have posted include a porter, pale ale, dry stout and an amber ale. This can be brewed with a simple  3-gallon (11-L) all-grain brewery.

 

Copper Ale

by Chris Colby

All-grain; English units

 

DESCRIPTION

A copper-colored ale with a nice, “Fuggly” hop aroma and malty flavor. Designed as an “everyday” beer.

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Basic Homebrewed Lambic Recipe

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Bottled gueuze aging at Brouwerij Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium.

If you ask 10 sour beer brewers how to brew a sour beer, you’ll get 11 answers. Here is mine. This is a basic lambic beer. It can be used as the base for a fruit lambic, like a kriek or framboise. It can be used as a blender in a gueuze. (See my article on brewing a gueuze for more information.) Or, it can be enjoyed on its own. Over the years, I have adapted traditional lambic brewing techniques into something that can be done on a normal homebrew system. The main recipe is given in a stovetop extract formulation (countertop partial mash), but I also give an all-grain version.

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